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CF Industries warns of shipment delays via Union Pacific rail lines

April 14 (Reuters) - CF Industries Holdings Inc on Thursday warned of delays in shipment of its nitrogen fertilizers, a week after Union Pacific mandated certain shippers to reduce the volume of private cars on its railroad.

The announcement of delay also comes a month after CF said it is increasing fertilizer shipments to both U.S. coasts from the world’s largest nitrogen complex in Louisiana to help offset a decline in exports from Russia, a major exporter of potash, after it invaded Ukraine.

CF Industries ships to customers through Union Pacific rail lines primarily from its Donaldsonville Complex in Louisiana and its Port Neal Complex in Iowa. The company was asked by the railroad operator to reduce its shipments by nearly 20%.

The fertilizer producer said it may not have available shipping capacity to take new rail orders involving Union Pacific rail lines to meet late season demand for fertilizer.

In January, Union Pacific warned COVID-19 cases among its staff and paid time off for people getting inoculated would hurt its ability to move freight in the current quarter.

“The timing of this action by Union Pacific could not come at a worse time for farmers,” CF’s Chief Executive Officer Tony Will said on Thursday.

“Not only will fertilizer be delayed by these shipping restrictions, but additional fertilizer needed to complete spring applications may be unable to reach farmers at all,” he added. (Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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